High winds just knocked a tree over and on top of your house, punching half a dozen holes in the roof. What do you do now?
Managing the insurance claim process can be challenging for homeowners. Often they not familiar with the details of their insurance policy and all the steps they should take once their home is damaged—other than calling their insurance company. This is not uncommon, since an insurance claim should be an infrequent occurrence, and policyholders may not think in advance about what they need to do in the event of an incident. The homeowner also may not be reviewing their policy annually to stay current with the evolving details of their coverage—and all insurance policies should be thoroughly reviewed annually.
Policyholders should try to be aware about what to do and what not to do if a claim situation occurs. Common recommendations for typical “to dos” can include some of the following points.
When the Loss Occurs
Here are just a few of many possible steps to consider taking when your home is damaged:
- Make certain that you and your family are safe. If the structure appears to be unsafe then leave and find temporary shelter.
- If appropriate, contact emergency services to protect your home and belongings from looting.
- Take pictures or video of the damage as soon as you can.
- Attempt to minimize additional damage by taking actions such as covering a hole in the roof with a tarp and moving undamaged furniture and other items to a safe part of the house or someplace away from the house.
- Keep receipts for any money you spend to prevent further losses, such as for a tarp to cover property or even gasoline used in a power generator.
- Don’t repair anything, hire anyone to make repairs or discard ruined property until after an adjuster has examined everything and itemized losses for all damaged possessions.
- Stay involved throughout the process. Many insurance companies have online tools to track the progress of your claim.
- Don’t expect your claims adjuster to be your general contractor; the adjuster determines the extent and cost of the damage but does not arrange to have it repaired.
Many online sites provide some interesting points to consider when dealing with an insurance claim. Here are some sites with practical suggestions:
Have you had to file a home or car claim recently? Was it a good experience or not? Let us know below what happened in your situation.